Celtic harp virtuoso set to pluck NZ heartstrings

Celtic harpist Andriano Sangineto. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Celtic harpist Andriano Sangineto. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Celtic harpist Andriano Sangineto will bring his lively, avant-garde approach to Dunedin this weekend, for a one-off show hosted by Dunedin Folk Club.

The virtuoso Italian musician will perform his ‘‘Arpa Creativa’’ (Creative harp) show this Sunday evening at the folk club, which meets from 7.30pm at Opoho Bowling Club, 80 Lovelock Ave.

The Dunedin show is part of a whistle-stop trip around New Zealand for Sangineto, in a midst of a two-month international tour that includes shows and festivals in Australia and the Folk Alliance Festival in the United States, as well as tutoring at harp retreats.

Speaking to The Star from Italy, just before his departure, Sangineto said it was an engagement to tutor at a harp retreat in New Zealand in early March that inspired him to develop the tour. It had grown to the extent that he will be criss-crossing the globe to meet all of his commitments.

‘‘Fortunately, I really love travelling - and this is a quiet time of the year in Europe,’’ he said.

‘‘So I am very excited about getting out on tour.’’

Sangineto is in high demand around the world for his entertaining, modern approach to the Celtic harp. He expands its rhythmic and harmonic capabilities, including using the harp as a percussive instrument.

‘‘In my Arpa Creativa show, which I am bringing to Dunedin, I demonstrate three musical genres — ragtime, country music, and film music,’’ he said.

‘‘I can play just about everything that comes into my mind on the harp, with the help of some electronic effects.

‘‘This will be my first time experimenting with percussive sounds on the harp in concert — it is quite a unique approach.’’

The son of a harp maker, Sangineto grew up surrounded by hundreds of harps, but initially chose to study clarinet at the Milan Conservatoire.

Eventually, he moved on to playing the Celtic harp, which he describes as ‘‘the complete instrument’’.

As a self-taught harpist, he had ‘‘the whole horizon of choices’’ to explore, and over two decades of harp experience has transcended the traditional limits of the instrument to create an innovative sound.

‘‘I felt free to experiment and to do what I wanted.’’

Sangineto is renowned for his original compositions, with each piece combining rhythm and melody to take audiences in unexpected directions.

He has released 13 albums (as a soloist and with his bands) and numerous collaborations with artists from the Italian and European music scene.

BRENDA.HARWOOD @thestar.co.nz